Greetings, two-legged readers! It’s Lucinda the literate cat. It’s been a while since I’ve done a book review, so CCL (Cantankerous Cat Lady) suggested I do one. When you are pondering a question, do you ever say, “What does the cat say?” You might find the cat has some good answers.
This review covers a book that you might find very educational. It’s called, “All I Need To Know I Learned From My Cat.” It was written by Suzy Becker, who must be quite astute to realize all the lessons she has learned from her cat.
I will list some of the page captions in this review, and then give you my analysis of their accuracy.
Lesson from the first page
Let’s start with the first page. It says, “It’s okay to wear the same thing every day.” Well, I certainly don’t know any cat who would disagree with this one. We are so fortunate that we never have to change our costume. We don’t even have to take it off to wash it!
You two-leggeds are remarkable. You have a small room full of different garments, and very often you change what you are wearing every day. Then you have to put them in a big machine with soap and lots of water to wash them.
How terrible it would be if we had to wash our fur coats that way, especially since we can’t take them off. We would have to get in that washing machine. I personally wouldn’t like that experience at all.
Even worse would be to have to go to what you call a dry cleaners to get out all the stains. Instead, we are equipped with a tongue that makes a perfect scrub brush. We will dry fast, so no need to be spun around in that clothes dryer. I’d get so dizzy and ‘way too hot!
Make your own hours
Here’s a good one: “Make your own hours.” You two-leggeds are always so busy — you seem to spend your days running from one task to another.
We cats do things a bit differently. We do have a very exact routine, but it is one we have established
with our own comfort in mind. We decide what things are most important and which ones can wait until after our nap.
In fact, when we make our own hours, we must allow lots of time for naps. To be effective, they should be spread out during the day. That way, we never get too tired, and can always find the energy needed to catch that mouse we have been watching or to play a fast game of ball.
One lesson in the book is “Don’t always come when you’re called.” You two-leggeds seem to understand our philosophy on this one, as you have a saying: “Dogs come when they are called; cats take a message and get back to you.”
Cats do not have obedience programming
Dogs are always seeking favor, and one way they do so is through blind obedience. A cat is not programmed to be obedient, but rather to go with what is necessary and useful. If we feel some importance in responding when we are called, that’s fine, but if we are involved in a vital cat job, such as a stakeout on a hunt, our two-legged will have to wait.
After all, we can judge pretty well as to what we need to do in any situation, and then we can rely on our own assessment of the importance of what we are doing. Two-leggeds need to learn that they can’t always be in charge.
Test your limits
I like this one — “Test limits.” It’s important to find out the behavior boundaries, because we may need to know them to avoid a negative situation. For example, how many things can you push off the desk onto the floor before your two-legged gets upset with you?
But it’s such fun! You’d think your two-legged would be pleased that we enjoy playing with her toys, but she gets rather selfish. You might think it great fun to see where the glass of pens will scatter to when you push them onto the floor, but your two-legged will not get involved in your game…except to pick up after you, because she is a bit fixated on such things.
In fact, she could put you out of the room and shut the door. How sad! Doesn’t she know that no playing will make her a dull, uninteresting two-legged? Why does she get so locked into what she feels is her duty that she can’t stop and join the play for a while? I feel sorry for her.
Recycling is important
One page just says, “Recycle” and shows the cat digging in the trash can to find just the perfect toy. It is hard for me to understand why you two-leggeds become so upset when we go through the trash, especially when I’ve heard you talking about how important it is to recycle.
It reminds me of a story my CCL tells about her last cat, Carlos. CCL had a tall trash can in the kitchen that opened when you stepped on a pedal at the bottom. Carlos learned how to open it and would put his front paws on the top open edge and look in.
Unfortunately, the CCL was in the room, and every time Carlos would open the can, CCL would chase him away and close it again. Carlos kept trying, and finally CCL put a pile of books on the lid so it would not open when the foot pedal was pushed. Carlos never did get to explore the depths of that trash can.
Now, why not? You stress how important it is to recycle, but when we try to help, you won’t allow it. Sometimes I simply don’t understand you two-leggeds.
One page tells you to go barefoot. It’s supposed to be very healthy, but I rarely see you two-leggeds running around without shoes. Now, we cats don’t wear shoes, and it is true that sometimes our feet get very cold, especially where we live here in Alaska.
Then we have to find a warm bed somewhere so we can make our toes toasty again. However, it’s nice not to have to wear shoes. We don’t have to polish them and they will never wear out, while our toes just keep on going.
It’s nice to feel the floor or the rug or the ground outside under our feet. Sometimes our feet tingle and give us messages from the ground where we walk. Yes, we are lucky that we don’t have to change shoes every day — such a chore!
Use your time wisely
This is a good one — “Make the most of unstructured time.”
Oh, boy! This is a fun one. The picture in the book shows a cat resting in front of the fire. Warm fires are good, so I can certainly agree that a fire offers a great chance to sop up some extra heat.
Of course, unstructured time is always a good excuse for a nap. We have made cat naps famous because we take them all the time. After all, we need lots of beauty sleep.
You may not realize it, but we are not always napping. You may think we are sound asleep, but sometimes we are plotting things. We have to establish campaigns to accomplish some of our plans.
Here are some examples: Perhaps I can figure out how to get a larger portion of CCL’s halibut when she fixes it. There must be some technique that would be more successful than those I use.
Or, perhaps we need to work out how we can open the drawer where the treats are kept. This one will take practice, but I think we can do it. Another one: How can we figure out how to get to the table-top where the container of catnip is stashed? If we can get up there, we can knock the can off the table, and with luck, the lid will come off and we will be in catnip heaven for a while.
Oh, yes, unstructured time can be well-used.
Here’s one last example from the book: The page just says, “Show affection.” This one is very important. We are, after all, appreciative of our warm home and regular meals, but cannot show our appreciation in a way to truly repays you in kind, so our gift to you is a continual show of affection.
If we have a good two-legged, our affection will be returned and we will end up establishing a strong
bond. This bond is called “love.” Once we love each other, we will do our best to give our partner what we have to offer.
As cats, we will give such services as we can. We will keep the house clear of rodents. We will help out with household tasks when possible, such as helping make the bed or supervising cleaning jobs.
If we are a social cat, we might take on the role of greeter, and welcome all guests who come to visit. You will find us quite good at helping to dispose of leftovers after a meal, and we can be a great bed warmer at night. Also, we must remember to purr a lot for our two-legged, as that sound is a healing one and can relieve some pain or unhappiness that they may have.
In the morning, we act as an alarm clock, so our two-legged, who doesn’t much like to get up, will know that it is time to do so. At mealtime, we will remind our partner that we would like to eat.
Another important thing we can do is to cause our two-legged to laugh. Laughter, two-leggeds say, is often the best medicine, so we can contribute to our partner’s health with our antics.
There are many ways we can be helpful, and we do like to do what we can. Our greatest gift, however, occurs once we are bonded, and then we will love our two-legged unconditionally, no matter if there are mistakes, mismanagement, or misunderstandings.
We will love our two-legged nonstop, and will forgive all mistakes, because we know, down deep, that we are free to practice our independent nature simply because we have a safe refuge if things go wrong.
Our loyalty will remain unshaken. We will love you forever.
If you would like your own copy of this book, you can order it here. Simply click on the image or the blue-highlighted title, and you will be taken to Amazon where you can purchase it. Please note that CCL will receive a very small commission from your purchase.
Author: Suzy Becker
by Workman Publishing Co.